In February 2019, the U.S. Army released information gathered by researchers from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America citing several factors that increase the risk of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in military spouses. Among those are frequent separations, combat deployments, and employment struggles. One of the suggestions was to increase education around the military mental health resources available so that spouses know where to go for help.
If you are in immediate crisis, call the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255.
It’s not enough for a service member, spouse, or military family as a whole to simply survive their time in the service. We want to see all of them thrive. There are a variety of military mental health resources available to ensure this happens.
We have collected five different military mental health resources, available across all military branches, that are committed to serving the mental health of their service members and their families. Below are services offered for non-medical counseling. If you require medical treatment, call a Tricare representative to discuss your needs.
Military OneSource might be the most well-known and all-encompassing resource, devoted to a mission of helping military families achieve their goals. In regards to counseling, Military OneSource offers a call center, as well as online support, which connects you to the program or professional who will then make sure that you receive the assistance you need.
Through Military OneSource the DoD provides confidential, non-medical counseling in person, over the phone, or through secure video conversations. If you are eligible for the service, Military OneSource scours its directory of providers, offers a list of three within your local community, and will provide 12 sessions per issue per calendar year. Live chatrooms, contact submission forms, and support lines are available here.
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2Military and Family Life Counseling
Families looking to nurture the mental health of a child might be interested in speaking with the child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. MFLCs are trained counselors who can help manage issues such as moving preparations, grief, or stress. All conversations are confidential, dissolving any threat that the issues will impact the service member’s career.
Use this locator tool to find your installation and pertinent information regarding its counseling programs.
3Family Advocacy Program
Each branch has a Family Advocacy Program (FAP) committed to preventing abuse in the military community. The FAP is dedicated to not just assisting families through programs like the New Parent Support Program, but also serving military families affected by abusive behavior.
There are trained FAP staff members placed at all installations who counsel local military families how to nurture healthy communication skills and home environments. They also respond to reports of spouse and intimate partner abuse as well as child abuse and neglect, support and protect victims of abuse, and offer treatment options for abusers.
For individuals affected by sexual assault, the DoD offers SAFE Helpline. The resource provides anonymous and confidential, 24/7 service to any DoD member or their dependent seeking one-on-one support.
SAFE offers help online, via telephone, the SAFE helpline app, a chatroom called Safe HelpRoom, and even self-paced educational programs.
5Counseling Services Covered through Tricare
If you don’t want to speak with someone directly connected to the military, search for a provider in your area who falls under Tricare coverage. Speak with a Tricare representative or visit the website to find a doctor based on your plan coverage.
If you or a loved one are fighting an uphill battle for your mental health, connect with one of these military mental health resources and let these professionals do what they do best.
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Photo credits: Renee Dolan Photography, Unsplash